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ben writers of law, and men of singular religion, that compassen about the water and the lond to maken of your religion, and when he is made of your religion yee maken him double more a child of helle.' And sith he that steleth an ox or a cow is damnable by God's law and man's law also, muckil more he that steleth a man's child, that is better than all earthly goods, and draweth him to the less perfitt order. And though this singular order were more perfect than Christ's, yet he wot nevere where it be to damnation of the child, for he wot not to what state God hath ordained him; and so blindly they don agenst Christ's ordinance.”
NOTE VI.-p. 11. Among the exaggerated notions of the day we find the strange assertion that the Pope levied five times as much from the country as the Crown. “Omnia Romæ venalia” was a maxim as generally cited in Edward III.'s time as in that of Catiline at Rome. That Prince was petitioned to expel all churchmen from civil offices; and the threat was sometimes plainly heard of terminating by force the papal authority. “Piers Plowman's Vision' is chiefly directed against the clergy; and Chaucer is full of sarcasms at their expense; and though it may be observed that he flourished late in the same century, yet Langley preceded Wycliffe by many years.
Note VII.-p. 12. “In tantum in suis laboriosis dogmatibus prævaluerunt, quod mediam partem populi, aut majorem partem suæ sectæ adquisiverunt” (H. Knighton, 2664). “In tantum multiplicata fuit (Secta scil.) quod vix duos videres in via quin alter eorum discipulus Wycliffe fuit” (id. 2666).
Note VIII.-p. 14.
Some accounts represent the Primate as having been present. But the Bishop of London alone as presiding makes answer to the Lords when they speak for Wycliffe, and yet, had the Primate been there, he must have presided. The mistake probably arises from the bull being addressed to the Primate as well as the Bishop. The inference that Courtenay or some of his followers had given an intimation to the populace of what had passed in court with the Duke seems difficult to avoid. For how else should they have been aware of it? His furious zeal was too well known; nor was there anything in Lancaster's words to make the people suppose he had insulted Courtenay, unless the latter had showed himself greatly offended.
Note IX.-p. 16. “Quinimo si ibi esset corpus Christi asseveravit in fractione se posse frangere collum Dei sui. Quod panem esse dicebant, et rem inanimatam, et potius venerandum esse bufonem vel quodlibet animatum."— T. Wals. 356.
Note X.—p. 17. T. Walsingham (p. 281) gives three several and distinct causes of the tumults, regarding them as judgments of HeavenFirst, upon the prelates for not prosecuting with severity the partisans of the new heresy.- Secondly, upon the Lords for their bad lives and atheistical principles, and their tyranny over the community. Thirdly, upon the wicked lives of the community themselves. As regards the supineness of the prelates, he declares the breaking out of the insurrection on the day of Corpus Domini to constitute a proof of its being judicial. But not a word does he or H. Knighton say of the Wycliffites as liaving by their preaching caused any discontent or stirred up any sedition among the common people.
NOTE XI.-p. 17. See Rot. Par. iii. 1 Ric. II. 88, 2 Ric. II. 60. Dr. Lingard, who makes the charge against Wycliffe's doctrines of having encouraged the turbulent spirits, places this accusation in such juxtaposition to the complaints of the Lords as would make a careless reader suppose that those complaints were partly levelled at the Reformed teachers.-iii. 175-6.
Note XII.—p. 18. It is somewhat singular that the expulsion of the parties themselves is not directly ordered, but only may be implied by the sentence against all who held the opinions.—Rymer, xii. 363. This royal mandate is directed to sheriffs and mayors as well as the university, and it enjoins obedience to the Primate's lawful orders. Hence it should seem to have been issued under the Stat. 5 Ric. II., afterwards repealed. For the subsequent royal proclamations, as that in 1395, do not refer to the prelate's authority, but to that of the Crown, and they contain no command to sheriffs and mayors.— Id. 805-6.
Note XIII.—p. 19.
Stat. 5 Ric. II. c. 17, and 6 Ric. II. c. 53. The words of the Commons in desiring the repeal are worthy of remark—" It is no wise their interest that they or their posterity be justified and bound before the prelates any more than their ancestors have been in times past.”—Rot. Par. iii. 141.
Note XIV.-p. 25. Wycliffe's was certainly the first translation of the Bible, though different parts of it had before been rendered into Saxon and English. Dr. Lingard hastily adopts a vague expression of Sir Thomas More's in his Discourses, to show that a translation had long before been made; and the expression does not bear him out (Hist. iii. 198). Wycliffe's translation, made chiefly by himself, and wholly under his immediate direction, was principally from the Latin versions. A very full and learned account of the Translations of the Bible is given in Dr. Rees's Cyclopædia, voce Bible. Sir T. More's Dial., b. iii. c. 14, lavishes much abuse on Wycliffe, and charges him with gross and systematic mistranslation and corruption of the Scriptures. His assertion that they had all been translated before is given with the most suspicious generality, and plainly rests on no specific or definite facts. He contends, too, that the Romish clergy did not lock up the Bible from the laity, and would have us believe that they only were desirous of preventing erroneous translations from misleading the people.- Works, 1549, pp. 233-4.
More's bigotry exceeds that of most men. It is perhaps the most remarkable instance of the prostration of great faculties by superstition. One of his principal charges against Luther is his being an enemy of crusades against the Turks. His answer to Tindale is unrivalled in weakness and in zeal.
The number of Wycliffe's writings was enormous, even for that voluminous age. They exceeded those of St. Augustin. His Bible, though hastily executed, is most valuable as a mine or record of our Saxon tongue; for it is written in singularly idiomatic language ; and Mr. Hallam has done it only justice in representing its composition as an important step in the progress of the language.-ii. 607.
Note XV.-p. 27. The abuse of Luther by both clerical and lay adversaries exceeded the ordinary measure of polemical virulence. That he was criminally connected with Catherine Bora before marriage, or, as it was phrased, that he was within two days a monk, a husband, and a father ; that he was a glutton and a sot, and died suddenly after a debauch ; that he succeeded in convincing himself against all religion after a ten years' struggle, compared to the siege of Troy, and that he became an atheist-these are charges, wholly false, indeed, but not impossible to be true in the nature of things. But it was also currently asserted that he had been begotten by a monster, or incubus, and that he habitually drank two gallons of sweet wine at dinner and supper, -assertions which stamp themselves with falsehood, and their authors with folly as well as fraud. Erasmus, who had at one time believed and given currency to the charge respecting his wife, afterwards retracted it most fully. To vindicate Luther from faults of another kind, some of them almost bordering on mental alienation, would be an altogether hopeless task. His table-talk dwells with disgusting detail on supposed conflicts with the devil; he gave the Elector a dispensation to marry two wives ; and he profaned the pulpit with sermons vindicating fornication.
Note XVI.-p. 29. The first part of Spencer's epitaph refers to these exploits :
“Lollardi mores damnant deteriores
Insurrectores permissus necat et proditores.” “ Nullus pacturus (says Copgrave) tempore suo inter populum habitare potuit.”—Vit. Henrici Norvicensis apud Wharton Orig. Sac. ii. 359-69.